Too Important to Fire

We brought in our first non-family senior executive to help professionalize and grow the business.  The senior manager performed his job well and was eager to take on more responsibility. Eager to keep him satisfied, and retain him, we continued to give him increased responsibility across other functional areas.

In a few years, we realized that he wasn’t as competent in the newer areas, as he was in his core responsibility for which he had been hired.  It’s easy to fall into the thinking that someone who comes from a larger scale business is an expert in all areas. This proved wrong for us and we found the newer areas under his responsibility were hurting the business.  We stopped adding responsibility and discussed ways to move him back to his core strength expertise area. This caused him to threaten leaving with his management staff, unless he continued to receive increased responsibility and compensation.

We decided to terminate the employee.  But it was too late. This senior manager had assumed so much increased control and responsibility that they had become too important to fire. More…

Help! I’m Working For a Non-Family CEO in Our Family Business

“He pushed me beyond my comfort zone, but I liked it”

At first, we were concerned, that hiring an outside CEO would feel like a loss of control. But in a strange way, we almost felt a sense of relief. Relief that the family could tap into a resource that could support us in growing the business through fast growth.

An outside CEO can also help pull the company in the same direction. When family members lead the business they have autonomous power to manage their areas of responsibility. They set their own priorities, strategies, and methods of getting the tasks completed. This independence in the management structure often has family members working in silos with no clear lines of communication and direction. Each family member is setting their own priorities in a vacuum and hoping they align with the overall direction of the business. It usually works well, but there is an opportunity to make it even better when there is a comprehensive plan in place.  More…